Quick link to ride data: Garmin Activity Detail
Today I set out to ride some known terrain, and then push into uncharted territories. My plan was to leave no later than 8 a.m. because of the heat in the local mountains, but I didn’t make it out the door until 10 for a number of reasons. I definitely wanted to ride up Los Flores again, because it posed such a challenge several days ago.
My route had me coast down San Vicente Blvd. to PCH and then ride north towards the turnoff to Los Flores. This first leg is roughly 11.5 miles and an easy ride with an 18 mph avg. The second leg of the journey chews me up every time, up Los Flores via Schueren to Saddle Peak Road: 6 miles and 2320 vertical feet. The ascent went better than the last time, and I took only 3 breaks, each just only long enough to get some good pulls of water out of the bottle. I am proud of my sprint effort the last 200 yards with which I was able to crest the top at 17 mph (compare to a 5.6 mph average for the entire climb).
I took a 10 minute break to eat and drink at the top, chatting with some trail- endurance runners which were taking a break as well. Amazing folks, they were in their 6th hour with 4 more to go. Now it was time to explore uncharted territory, and riding down Stunt Canyon was first. It was a steep 4 mile downhill decent with 1300 feet elevation loss (the bottom of Stunt could be a future turn-a-round for a hill repeat). Unfortunately the tarmac on this stretch of road is pretty bad in addition to a lot of loose hillside gravel on the surface as well.
Stunt Canyon road intersect with Mulholland Drive at which point it was back to uphill again on a long 2 mile, 500 feet climb, followed by a glorious and fast 1.5 mile downhill on which you give all 500 feet back. At this point I had a choice of staying on Mulholland and following it all the way through the valley and return via Sepulveda Pass, or make a sharp right and climb Old Topanga Canyon Road. I opted for Topanga because I hate the section on Ventura Blvd. which I would have needed to take while following Mulholland.
So, Old Topanga was another first for me (I love exploring new routes). It turned out that this portion was a short but steep climb, gaining about 750 feet in 1.8 miles, and then it was a screaming roller coaster with fast descents for the next 8.5 miles loosing over 1500 feet arriving back at the Pacific Coast Highway, and I was back in ‘known’ territory. It was during the climb up Old Topanga, when a bee found its way inside my wide open zipped jersey and proceeded to sting me right into the arm pit. Now that part wasn’t really fun, but what can you do? HTFU – and ride on. Speaking of bees – if you have not read the story of ‘BikingInLA’, another prolific blogger and very community oriented cyclist, about his encounter with a swarm of thousands of bees, you no longer have an excuse – here is the link! Frightening, is all I can say. So, no, I am not complaining about my bee sting, no Sir!
43 miles, 3900 vertical feet and a new route – my legs are tired, but I am excited about the possibility of other new routes in this area. But that is a post for the future.